There are a lot of different ways to advertise your small or local business. Here are just a few ideas that are also affordable. Hiring and working with a marketing consultant is always a good idea. However, here are several marketing objectives that you could complete independently. These marketing strategies are relatively easy to accomplish and are affordable.
Here are ways to accomplish these nine affordable advertising ideas:
It is possible to get interviewed on a top podcast in your industry. You just have to find someone first. Is there a podcast you currently listen to in your industry? That is a good place to start. You already know a lot about their show and their industry. Follow them on social media and reach out to them. A friendly, “hello, I’ve been following your podcast for a while now and really enjoy it. I am in the same industry and I find that you provide helpful information. Keep up the great work,” never hurt anyone. If you are not familiar with podcasts in your industry, you could do a quick Google or iTunes search. Once you have found a successful show, research them and listen to a few episodes. Regardless of how you find them, creating rapport with a podcaster is always a good strategy. The good news is that most podcast hosts are looking for new guests to have on their show. They want a guest that their audience would find interesting. After creating a relationship with them, you can send them a personalized email with your pitch. Include what you do for a living and a few topic ideas.
There are many ways to make your business cards more unique. To get your cards to stand out from a pack of cards, you could make the edges a bright color. You could make them a little taller or longer so that they physically stand out from the others. You could have your card affect other senses, like touch, as well. You could make the card a stencil or even raise the paper in certain areas. Some companies avoid paper entirely. They make their cards out of wood, metal, or even plastic. If you are going to pay the extra money for a different material than paper, you might as well make it usable. Some drink companies might offer business coasters or bottle openers with their info. Get creative and think outside the box to brainstorm some fabulous ideas.
There are a number of ways to send your customers a thank you card. You could send them a personalized email expressing thanks. Some companies will send a physical handwritten thank you card in the mail to their clients. Who does not love receiving mail that is not just junk mail? Everyone loves seeing an envelope with a handwritten address. That is another piece of advice. If you are going to send a physical card, write the envelope by hand as well. The reader will be more likely to separate it from junk mail. If you do not want to pay postage for a card, you can include a small thank you when you provide the service or product. If a customer orders something from you, you could slide a thank you note into the box before sending. Some companies offer their customers a small gift basket for large purchases. Sliding a handwritten thank you note into something like that would also be incredibly thoughtful.
Start a customer loyalty program where return customers get special offers or deals. There are a number of ways to set this up for your company. If you have approval to send customers marketing emails, you could send a coupon. Send an email to a customer that recently made a purchase at your store. You could provide them with a coupon for their next time at your store. Other stores might offer a punch card system of some sort. It could be a physical card, or it could be an electronic record. Instead of giving a customer a coupon after every purchase, you could give them a discount after every 5th, 10th, or 20th purchase at your store. You might even set up a VIP program. Customers will use their contact information, such as a phone number to sign up for an account with your store. In exchange, you provide them with a discount or points program for future purchases. Offering a VIP program can help you track what products customers are buying.
Word of mouth is one of the best forms of marketing! If customers are telling their friends about your business, your business will likely increase. That sort of promotion is better than a TV ad. You could simply ask customers for a referral, or you could set up a program. If you are going to ask for a referral, just ask. “If you enjoyed your service, you could let others know by telling them or writing a review on Yelp,” is straight to the point. If that makes you feel uncomfortable, you could offer a referral program. Referral programs provide value to the customer. Many places have some form of referral program in place. If a new customer says that a current customer referred them, then both parties get a reward. For example, if the new referred customer makes a purchase, they can save 20% on their order and the friend that referred them can save 20% on their next purchase. This encourages customers to talk more about your store.
We have talked about how easy it is to create a Facebook ad. Having a presence on social media is great for finding new customers. Many customers include visiting a business’s Facebook page in their research of a company or product they are interested in trying. An active social media presence assures customers that your company is legit. They may also read your customer reviews on social media. When it comes to Facebook, running an ad only costs a few dollars a day. Their minimum budget is $1 a day for advertising. You could run an ad for as much or as little time as you want. Of course, the more money you spend, the more people that see your ad. You can boost a popular Facebook post you already have in order to reach viewers outside of your followers. Or you could create an ad with Facebook Ad Manager. You can choose your campaign goal, determine who you want your ads to target, and design the ad. If customers find your imagery and text compelling, they will click the link. Your ad can take them to your website to check out your products. There are many different types of campaigns and strategies you can use on Facebook Ads.
We talked previously about how easy it is to create and send email marketing material. Depending on the number of customers you plan to send an email to, there are some options that are free! You can watch our full MailChimp tutorial here:
Guerrilla marketing is a type of non-traditional marketing. The idea is to create promotional material that is unconventional. You want to surprise potential customers. You want them to interact with your product or service. These marketing strategies are not newspaper ads, posters, or even traditional billboards or TV ads. They tend to be more affordable but can sometimes be more complicated. Bounty paper towels caught attention when they put a giant fake melting popsicle on the sidewalk. Next to it they put a sign that said, “make small work of big spills”. In Switzerland, a skydiving company installed an image of the city from a bird’s view in the elevator of one of the tallest buildings. The idea is that as the elevator went down, riders would experience the feeling of skydiving. Even brands, like Wendy’s and Wingstop, have friendly arguments via Twitter. All of these campaigns are good examples of guerrilla marketing. These ads got people to stop and interact with the brand in some way. These ads are fun.
If you have an exciting new update, a press release is a good idea. It lets your city hear more about topics that matter to them. Are you adding a new teammate, offering a new product, changing your company name, or even having a free public event? It is a great way to get the word out there. For the most part, it is free or low-cost advertising. Use this resource to get an idea of how to write a successful press release. Once you have proofread it twice, then you can send it out to the press. They are always looking for interesting stories for their readers. Only a few places may pick up your story, but every article helps. To send the press release to media, you can use free services like Media.Info, Anewstip, WooPitch, or something else.